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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

EXPERIMENT IN STATE CAPITALISM            75

standards of such a government are unattainable." (Yao and Shun
were the emperors idealised by Confucius, ruling China in the semi-
legendary era of the twenty-third and twenty-second centuries B.C.)

The Emperor said with some satisfaction, but modestly: "You are
expecting too much of me. I am afraid I cannot live up to your high
expectations."

But then there came a time for Wang Anshih to have a private
audience with the Emperor alone, when the other officials had been
dismissed. Here was a great chance for Wang Anshih.

"Sit down," said the Emperor. "I want to have a long talk with
you." His Majesty then began to ask him why two famous emperors,
one of them Tang Taitsung, had to secure two famous scholars as their
premiers to run the government. One of the two premiers mentioned
was none other -than Chuko Liang, probably the most renowned and
capable administrator in history. Again Wang Anshih brought the
discussion around to the topic of the legendary emperors of three
thousand years ago. Wang said that he preferred to talk of the able
assistants of the emperors Yao and Shun. "Chuko Liang is not worth
talking about in the opinion of the best minds." Chuko Liang's
political genius consisted in proceeding step by step towards a definite
goal, which hardly suited, the }nu>atienk self-confident wizard of
finance.

"Your Majesty," continued vyang*, "i^6oW "ragning over a vast

 empire with a huge population. After a century of peace, with so many
scholars all over the land, is it/not strange that no worthy men have
arisen to assist Your Majesty in the government? The reason must be
that Your Majesty has no decided policy and has not shown confidence
in men. Though there may be great talents living at present, like those
who assisted Emperors Yao and Shun, they will soon lay down_their
office because of obstruction by petty politicians."

"There are petty politicians in every regime," said the Jkmperor.
"Even in the reigns of Yao and Shun there were the famous Four Evil
Monsters."

"Exactly," Wang agreed, "it was oecause Tne-^mprwrs xao ana
Shun knew the four wicked ministers for what they were and had
them killed that they were then able to accomplish what they did.
If the four evil ministers had remained at court to carry on their
machinations arid intrigues, the good and able ministers would have
left, too."

Shentsung, the "Divine Emperor^B^^4ul^impressed. He was only
twenty, and like all young mgjS^^ very^j&^feious and wanted to

  make his country strong andy^bsperous. H>wre a good and just
man and he had a round aym^ell-p^ortioned.fapk like those of his
imperial ancestors. It was jpcH?until lattjr Shentsung^fiat the emperors